Accession Number:



Submunition Design for a Low-Cost Small UAS Counter-Swarm Missile

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The emergence of high-performance, consumer-grade, and low-cost drones under 1000, combined with artificial intelligence and low-cost computer processing power, has provided the tools and platforms on which to build drone swarms. In the context of recent weaponization of commercially available unmanned aerial systems UAS such as quadcopters, these trends present two major challenges the possibility of defenses getting overwhelmed and the large cost asymmetry between currently available defenses and the cost of these threats. Survivability methodology was used to study the susceptibility and vulnerability of threat vehicles. This analysis was then used to design and develop a submunition possessing a low-cost kill mechanism, such that multiple units could be delivered by a low-cost delivery vehicle. Vulnerability analysis revealed that a fouling mechanism would be highly effective and was therefore chosen as the kill mechanism. The submunitions aerodynamics were modeled and used to develop a concept of operations involving the deployment of multiple submunitions from a single delivery vehicle. The kill mechanism, submunition, and delivery vehicle were manufactured using commercially available components and additive manufacturing. Experimental testing has demonstrated the viability of these designs and the ability to provide a defense against small UAS swarms with low-cost technologies.

Subject Categories:

  • Pilotless Aircraft
  • Ammunition and Explosives

Distribution Statement: